WAV vs. FLAC

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Fretless
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Fretless » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:29 am

Original WAV sounds best, then WAV converted back from FLAC, then the FLAC file.

Differences are minimal but noticeable. Might be something happening in the decoding of FLAC.
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Ithilstone
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Ithilstone » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:30 am

well if we are talking about Wave and Flac
Anyone with PC can use Foobar2000 (free) and very good
ABX plugin http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx (free)
to do their own testing using true double blind technique.

I would encourage everyone to test themselves
I did and I know I do not hear ANY difference FLAC to Wave ( using hi end HPs) but I only know cause I used proper double blind testing
To me everything else is just not sufficient enough to be a proof. It is just such a shame that this method (foobar with plugin) cannot be used for gear as well

BTW one would have to score 7 in 10 or more to truly tell that there is a difference...
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Simon Hickie
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Simon Hickie » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:46 am

In my case it's a FLAC file which I then converted to WAV. I played the WAV file after the FLAC file, one immediately after the other. The micro-details were more evident on the WAV file than the FLAC file. My conclusion that the extra decompression process is doing 'something' which is robbing the music of some of that micro-detail.
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Lurcher300b
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Lurcher300b » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:55 am

Fretless wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:29 am
Original WAV sounds best, then WAV converted back from FLAC, then the FLAC file.

Differences are minimal but noticeable. Might be something happening in the decoding of FLAC.
But if the FLAC conversion is correct (and I assume it will be, actual errors in the conversion would not be even close to the original) then the before and after WAV files are identical, there is nowhere in them for a difference to hide.

Can I also just distance myself from any ABX nonsense as a valid proof of anything audio.

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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:51 pm

Since I was fooled by half a db difference on one channel only in an A-B music test via headphones not that long ago, I think getting levels carefully matched is vital if you're doing a kind of A-B test, which isn't the same as enjoying the music in my book, as the slightly louder one will often win under this kind of test - as I said, NOT the same as kicking back and letting the music engage the emotions, or not depending on the stereo used. I use Foobar too and have many GB's full of music on FLAC, WAV and even MP3's. The first two sound identical to me so I don't worry any more - but the entire output from the PC seems slightly 'quieter' than the CD transport also feeding the DAC. MP3's seem to roll off over 12khz or so and this can be very audible on some recordings even I have found...
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Ithilstone
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Ithilstone » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:55 pm

that's the beauty of this particular Foobar plugin, it precisely matches volume of both tracks I think down to 0.01db
Dave you are right though ABing has nothing to do with listening to music
but since I was curious if I can hear a difference between different formats I tested myself

I took 1 track from CD I know very well ripped it to wave and compared that wave to flac files compressing that wave (3 different compression levels)
there was no audible difference to my ears then just for fun I tried flac against different levels of .mp3 and .aac and .ogg
and even though I could hear the difference easily flac to mp3 192 but 320 was way less dramatic that I believed
even less so with aac 320 I was never again bothered by Radio Paradise AAC 320 streaming as a result
It is so close to flac that noises of main street outside my hose makes it barely audible.

Some time later I downloaded free sample high res files from here
http://www.2l.no/hires/
and down-sampled them to cd quality and again I could "hear" the difference only till I tested myself with
ABX. It showed me that it was nothing more than confirmation bias...

Call me half deaf but at least I know now that for me the whole high res train is not worth chasing...

Just as a side note I have no problem hearing ( also confirmed with ABX) difference between different mastering of the same album...
So not so deaf after all in my opinion but that's me... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Fretless
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Fretless » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:47 pm

Interesting test and worth doing for myself.
Certainly the matching of volume levels would be important.
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Yomanze
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Re: WAV vs. FLAC

Unread post by Yomanze » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:52 pm

Lurcher300b wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:55 am
Fretless wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:29 am
Original WAV sounds best, then WAV converted back from FLAC, then the FLAC file.

Differences are minimal but noticeable. Might be something happening in the decoding of FLAC.
But if the FLAC conversion is correct (and I assume it will be, actual errors in the conversion would not be even close to the original) then the before and after WAV files are identical, there is nowhere in them for a difference to hide.

Can I also just distance myself from any ABX nonsense as a valid proof of anything audio.
Most of the time I would agree RE: ABX, but unlike most tests where you just sit in front of a system (often not even knowing it), in this case you can sit at home to your heart's content, in your own time & own system, comparing two songs that you know well, and use Foobar2000's ABX plugin to do this blind. As discussed earlier I did this between FLAC & 320kbps mp3 (spotted differences 100% of the time), but with FLAC vs. WAV it became a coin flip. Looking at your checksum analysis we can see why this should be the case from an objective perspective.

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